Modern Scientific Textual Criticism - Bound or Independent

In 1558 William Whitaker, a master apologist for the truth of sola Scriptrua, wrote his comprehensive apology against the Roman Catholic dogma of Bellarmine and Stapleton on the topic of Holy Scripture - Disputations on Holy Scripture. Under the First Controversy and the Sixth question Whitaker writes concerning the necessity of Scripture,

"For if in civil affairs men cannot be left to themselves, but must be governed and retained in their duty by certain laws; much less should we be independent in divine things, and not rather bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule, lest we fall into a will-worship hateful to God." [523]

So for this brief post, here is the question, to those whose trust rests in the quality and certainty of modern scientific textual criticism [MSTC], in what way is MSTC "bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule" seeing that Holy Scripture falls most conspicuously under the category of "divine things"?

I maintain that MSTC is not bound but rather is a "will-worship hateful to God." For the nay-sayer, I concur that a form of textual criticism was in practice before the likes of MSTC, but that form was not of the same genus. Not of the same genus in that pre-Enlightenment textual criticism was subject to the leading of the Holy Ghost as manifested in the spirit-filled believing community of the time, whereas MSTC is subject to the scientific deductions of select scholarly board. For those perhaps a bit confused on this point, here is a slice of Theology 101. Where the Holy Spirit is leading the word of God is also present, and where the word of God is present so also is the leading of the Holy Spirit. MSTC pretends no such thing. You need not look any further than the several prefaces to the various editions of the leading Greek NT's on the market today. The goal of the MSTC scientific exercise is not for certainty, truth, or doxology, but for scientific worship of their own wills by oppressing the church with their findings and declaring all others uneducated, ignorant, and old-fashioned. So I conclude, where the Spirit of God is leading, the word of God accompanies that leading, thus pre-Enlightenment textual criticism is not of the same genus as MSTC, and should not be considered as such.

For those who seek to position MSTC with in the limits of the "prescribed and certain rule" [i.e. Holy Scripture], know that if you cannot, then you are in danger of condoning, supporting, and advancing a "will-worship hateful to God." Why is it will-worship? Because MSTC's goal is professedly not that of God's will but of a never-ending scientific endeavor governed by the limitations of human cognition to locate God's words. [i.e. men worshipping their own will to decide certain content qualities of divine revelation] Why is it hateful to God? A willful act not subject to the will of God is what brought us sin and the fall of man. Thus, MSTC is nothing more than an present day extension of that god-overthrowing will evidenced by our first parents.

The purpose of this post is to sharpen the iron of the supporters of the MSTC, by challenging them to locate MSTC in the greater exegetical and historical tapestry of Bibliology and if they cannot, to abandon MSTC as a system suitable for the work of Christ's Kingdom.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Truths that remain...

  1. Roland cannot show that I hold to a modernistic paradigm or am influenced by one in any way that matters in this debate (or any way at all, really. I happen to know what Modernism is and what I believe--and know that they are not even similar on any major point).
  2. The "believing community" includes men who believe the best text is eclectic. Therefore, neither Roland nor Peter can show that there is a single "text kept by the believing community." (The fact that a text was accepted with relatively few revisions up until recent centuries does not solve this problem.)
  3. Roland and Peter cannot show that there is anything in the act of comparing manuscripts according to thoughtfully developed criteria that is unique to "modern science" or "scientific method." They are also unable to support the claim that there is anything in this activity that is unique to a "modernist paradigm."
  4. Peter cannot prove that all who favor eclectic texts do so without a serious commitment to obedience to all applicable Scriptures. ("unbound"?)
  5. Neither Peter nor Roland can prove that the Holy Spirit does not guide believers who are engaged in the work of eclectic textual reconstruction/textual criticism as they work through their process of evaluation.

    To return to the original question, then...

    Peter wrote:
    So for this brief post, here is the question, to those whose trust rests in the quality and certainty of modern scientific textual criticism [MSTC ], in what way is MSTC "bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule" seeing that Holy Scripture falls most conspicuously under the category of "divine things"?


    1. The question makes at least one false assumption.

    I do not know who "those whose trust rests in the quality and certainty of" MSTC are. Depending on what's meant by "MSTC," I'm willing to grant these people exist. But for the most part they are not the makers of translations such as the ESV, NASB, NIV and NKJV.
    And the compilers of UBS and Nestle Aland texts do not claim certainty.

    2. When believers engage in textual criticism with the goal of getting as close as possible to the text God inspired, they are most certainly and willingly "bound." The fact they they use reasoning and observation to do the work does not nullify their devotion to God or their effort to do their work for His glory and the edification of His people.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Truths that remain...
This is just Aaron posturing. He has established no truths. This is fluff to give the impression that he has put away his opponents and established his position. BTW, truth is an universal, eternal, and immutable principle. None of his propositions come even close.
Quote:

  1. Roland cannot show that I hold to a modernistic paradigm or am influenced by one in any way that matters in this debate (or any way at all, really. I happen to know what Modernism is and what I believe--and know that they are not even similar on any major point).
Oh, yes, they are similar if you make reason the court of final appeal as does Modernism. And to say that you are not “ influenced by one in any way that matters in this debate” is a ridiculous statement. Yes, you are heavily influenced by your colleagues, your teachers, your schooling, and the society where you grew up. It's sheer nonsense to suggest that you're an independent thinker who are arrived at his beliefs on his own. As I previously noted, our beliefs are more social constructs than established by reason. Furthermore, I have given you ample opportunity to identify a paradigm within which you generally function. All you gave back were a jumble of unconnected generalities. It's passing strange that you told me that I could not reject Modernity (i.e. Modernism) but it seems that you claim to have accomplished this feat. Oh, hum . . . you're just repeating yourself, Aaron.

And if you want argument, see my homological argument in my post #22. It applies here as well.

Quote:
  • The "believing community" includes men who believe the best text is eclectic. Therefore, neither Roland nor Peter can show that there is a single "text kept by the believing community." (The fact that a text was accepted with relatively few revisions up until recent centuries does not solve this problem.)
  • Well, I've noted that this is not a necessary condition. Why should it be? Although you say that you are not a Modernist, this is precisely a Modernism method that requires inductive proof. It is not within a faith-reason paradigm. And I bring you under the same requirement. Can you show that there is a single text brought closer to the original text by modern textual criticism?
    Furthermore, this is specious reasoning. There were 1st century Jewish believers who rejected Paul's new teaching on Gentile converts and the keeping of the Law. However, the Believing Church accepted it as a whole.
    Quote:
  • Roland and Peter cannot show that there is anything in the act of comparing manuscripts according to thoughtfully developed criteria that is unique to "modern science" or "scientific method." They are also unable to support the claim that there anything in this activity that is unique to a "modernist paradigm."
  • You should know if you're going to debate this topic. Have you read Westcott and Hort? I suggest you read John Mackie's article, Scientific Method in Textual Criticism, although it is somewhat dated. W. P. Shepard in an article published in Modern Philology wrote: “So far as I know, no attempt was made to formulate the rules of this game, the canons of this art, or the laws of this science, until Griesbach, in 1796, in the Prolegomena to his second edition of the New Testament, posited two general principles and fifteen special rules . . . .” There was a fundamental break in the practice of textual criticism with the rise of modern science.
    Quote:
  • Peter cannot prove that all who favor eclectic texts do so without a serious commitment to obedience to all applicable Scriptures. ("unbound"?)
  • Because this is addressed to Peter, I'll leave the response to him.
    Quote:
  • Neither Peter nor Roland can prove that the Holy Spirit does not guide believers who are engaged in the work of eclectic textual reconstruction/textual criticism as they work through their process of evaluation.
  • I've asked before. Who are the believers involved in the work of “ eclectic textual reconstruction/textual criticism?” My point is that it is being done by secularists who have no appreciation for spiritual and inspired qualities of the Scriptures. And their own views and beliefs are important to their textual work. David C. Greetham, a textual scholar, wrote: “For the single most important characteristic of textual criticism . . . is that it is critical, it does involve a speculative, personal, and individual confrontation of one mind by another [emphasis added ], despite the attempts by some textual critics to turn the process into a science, and despite the frequent misunderstanding by non-textuists, who often suppose that textual criticism is merely a mechanical imposition of certain technical procedures . . . . (David C Greetham in Textual Scholarship: An Introduction, p. 295).
    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    I believe reality is accessible to us by observation and reasoning but that a great deal of what is real is not observable, verifiable, measurable, etc.
    When you look at an object reflecting light with a wavelength of approximately 510 nm, you see green color. Your perception is that the object is green in color. Is your observation reality or perception?

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    Though I am persuaded that the gospel is true by the ministry of the Spirit, I understand what the gospel is by the rational process of reading words God graciously provided.
    If the Holy Spirit legitimately persuades you that the Gospel is true, then why can't the Holy Spirit persuade me that the KJV is the inspired Word of God? If seems we are both proposing the same process.

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    One more thing about variants = errors. Verbal inspiration is the doctrine that God gave us the words of Scripture, not "semantic content" or concepts or some such. Therefore, when MSS disagree, there is always an error in one or the other (if not both).

    But even from a purely historical perspective it's obvious that variant=error.

    Quote:
    Is it obvious? Do misspellings count?
    There was a moment when Paul wrote the words of Romans 1:1. What he actually wrote is what he wrote... any copy that differs is in error at any point where it differs.

    1. When God inspired the Scriptures, He obviously allowed the styles, vocabularies, etc. of the human writers to come through.
    2. Do you know that Paul wrote his epistles without changing a word? How do you know?
    3. If Paul changed a word, which word was the inspired one?
    4. Can God maintain inspiration with variants existing?
    5. When God put the words together in context, He did give and limit "semantic content" of the words.

      Aaron, tell me plainly if you believe the semantic content of a word is static. Or, does the semantic content vary from place to place and time to time? If so, how do you know the semantic content of words over thousands of years without God's preservation?

    Jay's picture

    I'm in a rush here, but I absolutely fail to see how Aaron or anyone else can be credibly accused of modernist thought. Wikipedia defines it thus:

    Quote:
    Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism. Arguably the most paradigmatic motive of modernism is the rejection of tradition and its reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms. Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking and also rejected the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator God in favor of the abstract, unconventional, largely uncertain ethic brought on by modernity, initiated around the turn of century by rapidly changing technology and further catalyzed by the horrific consequences of World War I on the cultural psyche of artists.

    "Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    One thing that seems to allude the MSTC position is this, you refuse to recognize that the Bible in your hand reveals the essence and attributes of its very self. Thus for you “one jot and one tittle” refers to the autographs. Same with “every word of God is pure” and “heaven and earth shall pass away”. This is a fundamental change between pre-Enlightenment Bibliology and MSTC. That said, in order to shed some light on the Spirit’s moving in God’s people through God’s word I offer you a bit of the Scripture talking about itself.

    Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 16:27-31. The rich man has five brothers that he is certain will be cast into hell and so he pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus back to testify of what he saw. Abraham retorts and says, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” The rich man resists and declares that if a man came from the dead that such a testimony would surely turn them to Christ. Abraham once again retorts, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

    Commentary: 1.) Abraham, being in Heaven, being free from sin, says that the rich man’s five brothers have Moses and the prophets. They most certainly do not have the actual text written at the hand of Moses and the prophets so what is Abraham post-sin referring to? Copies of course. Abraham, who exists in Heaven having more perfect knowledge than any of us says the copies of Moses and the prophets are Moses and the prophets. 2.) A man’s words are so infinitely lacking in comparison the power of God’s words that Abraham declares that even if a man were to come back from the dead to tell of the afterlife such words are far less capable of persuasion. (e.g. the words of Lazarus of Bethany vs. the words of Jesus Christ - The risen Lazarus by no means tries to usurp the words of God. MSTC guys do it all the time and they have never risen from the dead)

    Now that we have some sense of God’s words let us talk of their communication. Turn with me in your Bibles to John 18:37. Pilate asks Jesus Christ whether He is a king or not. Christ affirms that He is a king and for that reason He was born and for that reason He came into this world. But look at the last sentence in verse 37, “Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

    Commentary: “Everyone that is of the truth” is in reference to saints, God’s people. The text is clear, all saints hear His voice, that is Jesus Christ’s voice. Where did the saints in Jesus time hear the voice of Christ? From Christ himself seems to be the clearest option at this point. Then Christ ascends (Luke 24:49-53) Who came in Christ’s stead? The Holy Spirit.

    Turn now to Acts 1:1-9, and our focus will be on vs. 8. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in all Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

    Commentary: Two things are going to happen here: 1.) The Holy Ghost is going to come upon them 2.) They are going to witness after the Holy Ghost comes upon them. What are they going to witness with? With the Apostle’s Doctrine which at this point is the Old Testament (e.g. Paul, Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch) coupled with their own testimonies as plenty potentiaries (i.e. full legal representatives) of Jesus Christ. This apostolic doctrine was then committed to writing in the case of the 27 book canon called the New Testament. Please note at this point the inextricable connection between the Holy Ghost and the Apostle’s Doctrine (i.e. Holy Scripture).

    Now come with me to Ephesians 5:19, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

    Commentary: How is it that one is filled with the Holy Spirit? One is filled with the Holy Spirit by being filled with Holy Scripture. Come with me quickly to Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Here each part of the paradigm is present. God’s people, God’s Spirit, and God’s word are all interconnected here. When you are filled with the Spirit the word of God comes out with boldness. God’s word reads, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. 12:34) therefore you speak God’s word because the Spirit and word are in you abundantly.

    Turn with me again to Romans 6:16 which reads, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

    Commentary: You are either obeying sin which is disobedience to God or you are obeying God unto righteousness. How do we obey God? By obeying the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit directly connected to? Holy Scripture. When we sin we disregard God’s word. When we obey God’s word we submit to God’s word through the power of the Spirit. What of saints that disregard God’s Spirit and God’s word?

    Now turn to Romans 8:1-4 and our focus will be on the phraseology of “who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”

    Commentary: Saints who walk not after the Spirit, walk after the flesh. What is it to walk after the flesh? It is to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16) Those that walk after the flesh are not obeying God but their own lusts, and are therefore not filled with the Spirit and are therefore not filled with the word of God. By the way this is the epitome of will-worship. They want their way instead of God’s way, just as Adam and Eve in the garden.

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    Now to the question so many seem to want the answer for, what is this God’s Spirit > God’s word > God’s people paradigm all about. It is in brief relief in the verses above. I could bring in a myriad of pre-Enlightenment scholarly commentary to show these truths to be evident throughout history but don’t you agree that Holy Scripture should be enough? God’s words and God’s Spirit are always present where the other is present, and they are present in God’s people alone. No other people group enjoys such presence. God’s words are God’s words because God has said them and declared them to be both in His words and through His Spirit.

    What about the few saints that stray and serve their own lusts? What is their roll in the God’s Spirit>God’s word>God’s people paradigm? Ultimately they have no roll. At that time in their life they have rejected God’s spirit and God’s words and have thrown off God’s people and are living according to their own lusts in the flesh.

    What about the few saints that disagree with the believing community? Here is the litmus test, are they submitting to God’s word and Spirit in their particular disagreement? How do you know? The answer is in what the Bible says. A saint may say, “Some of the words in Deuteronomy are missing.” this is an error because it is not substantiated by Holy Scripture yeah rather it is condemned. God’s word reads not one jot or one tittle. Soulish Abraham in Heaven who has more perfect knowledge of the state of Scripture then we could possibly imagine said that the rich man’s five brothers had the books of Moses thousands of years after Moses wrote them. That is to say the copy of Moses’ writings is Moses‘ writings. In Turretin’s language as set forth in my First Challenge to the MSTC Crowd topic the apographs (i.e. copies) are in the very words of the autographs (i.e. the original document written at the hand of Moses). So this saint disagrees with what the Bible says about itself, and if he continues in this disagreement then he serves his own lusts/will, is committing the sin of will-worship, and walks after the flesh as the lost do.

    In sum, the Bible in your hand or on your desk talks about itself not about some heavenly or hypothetical text. The Spirit of God and the word of God always accompany each other. The saint is the only one who can enjoy the filling and directing of the word and Spirit. When a saint steps away from that filling and directing of the word and Spirit, he lives after his own lusts in the flesh. Fleshly opinion are drawn from one’s own lusts and to do such a thing is will-worship.

    With regard to our present topic, those who defend MSTC here on SI reject the God’s Spirit>God’s word> God’s people paradigm, thus the historic Standard Sacred Text position has no choice but to conclude that MSTC is driven by men’s lusts out of fleshly living and that is will-worship.

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    Brother Blumer, I will get to your four summaries momentarily.

    I have a few observations. Your avid cling to post-Enlightenment thought is peculiar. I know you hold to certain values of this new system of thought, but I have a few questions. When you declare the good things that have come out of the Enlightenment, which part of it are you speaking of. Are you speak of social reconstruction through economics with Karl Marx. Or maybe it is the developments in psychology through Freud with Ego and the Oedipus complex. Maybe you are referring to the advances in biology with Darwin and evolution. Perhaps you are looking at Cartesian philosophy and the issue of thinking substance and how nothing can be known for certain outside that substance not even the existence of your own body. Maybe its Hegel, who was so bold to say that every known thing, including “god“, could be reconciled under his ultimate dialectic. Maybe its Gadamer, who stated that ultimate reality is in words, not things, which leads to gross uncertainty. Each of these are children or grandchildren of the Enlightenment. Perhaps you are looking at the textual criticism of the era which denied the supernatural, and as a result the inspiration of the autographs as is represented in the systems of Wescott and Hort. It is these two scholars that reintroduced Aleph and B. For some reason you and those who support you give a free pass to the conclusions of guys who reintroduced material the believing community had already rejected, who denied the supernatural character of God’s words, and denied the inspiration of the Holy Bible. Still you stand with pride to defend their findings (i.e. that Aleph and B should be brought back into the discussion after they had been thrown out).

    Now I know you are having your battle with Brother Pittman, but be careful because the era of time which you are defending , Brother Blumer and company, sought to destroy socio-economic stability, relocated psychology to be anthropocentric in nature, biological evolution removed God from the discussion of origins, philosophy sought to blanket the entire human race with ubiquitous uncertainty, and was in part the cause of WW II (if you don’t believe me on this last one. Come to Washington DC and visit the Holocaust museum, and see evolution’s roll in the slaughter of millions of Jews). In short, after the Enlightenment God-centered anthropology, a God-centered universe, God-centered philosophy, and a God-centered Bible have been under attack.

    Your young system of textual development, Brother Blumer, is sourced out of this environment that is full of the above filth, corruption, and destruction. Still, you cling to it.

    So I hope now you can understand 2 things: 1.) I for one, do not believe you when you say that post-Enlightenment systems are good things given the historical truth of the above statements. If you still maintain such a position please share with us the momentous positives that are so noteworthy in light of the wickedness mentioned above. 2.) Understand the extreme apprehension on the part of fellow brothers when they are cautious at least and outright resentful at the most, of post-Enlightenment thought and process.

    Now onto your summaries.

    Quote:
    1. The "modern science" argument: the nontraditional texts should be rejected because they are based on scientific method and scholarship.

    This reads better as, The nontraditional texts should be rejected because they are not products of the Spirit and word as modern science would maintain.

    Quote:
    2. The "modernist paradigm" argument: the nontraditional texts should be rejected because they are based on a "modernist paradigm."

    I can go with this for now.

    Quote:
    3. The "believing community" argument: God uses the believing community to preserve His word and the scholars who make nontraditional texts are not the believing community.

    I am truly surprised that you are having difficulty with this concept as a whole. I’m sure you have had pnuematology classes, How does the Holy Spirit speak to God’s people in the Dispensation of Grace? If you being to answer my question here I believe after a few more questions you will come to understand this yourself.

    This summary runs into at least one significant problem, Side A says these guys are saved and Side B says they are not. Neither side knows for certain so I don’t argue it. One thing we do know, the believing community by definition is saved.

    Quote:
    4. The Holy Spirit argument: the Spirit enables the "believing community" to know what the correct readings are, and the makers of nontraditional texts do not have this ministry of the Spirit.

    I have never said this. You infer it. You do so because I do not believe you have ever been educated in pre-Enlightenment theology in any meaningful way. But if you have then you will know the answer to this question, What makes a single believer’s thought, doctrine and not opinion?

    As for the summary, it is poor.

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    Brother Larry you said,

    Quote:
    The question remains whether you believe that the TR/KJV belief is revealed as the doctrine of hell is.

    I believe the following,

    I believe the Masoretic Hebrew and the TR are given to us in the very words given to the original writers and the self-attesting words of Scripture by the leading of the Spirit reveal this to the believing community. This is the point of my first challenge that I posted as a separate topic. I believe the KJB is the best translation of said originals because of the leading of the Spirit in His people through the word of God. If God said the worlds were created in 6 days I believe it, and I hope you do to. If God says that Jesus is the Son of God, I believe it. I believe you do to. If God says every word of God is pure, but you say because of your wisdom that every word of God in the word of God [both originals and versions ] is not pure, then you have a problem.

    Quote:
    In the same way, declaring the TR/KJV to be "certain" doesn't make it so.

    I have not nakedly declared the certainty of Scripture. It is a historical norm to argue such a thing. All I ask you to do is take some time. Read the historian Dr. Richard Muller chair of Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, who is no King James guy, and you will read this from volume 2 of Post-reformation Reformed Dogmatics, “The character of this discussion of attributes or properties of Scriptures by the Protestant orthodox, moreover, partakes of the doctrinal movement from exegesis of text (Mine: What the Bible says about itself) to dogmatic locus (Mine: Doctrine) found in the previous discussion of Scripture according to its essence (Mine: Found in pp. 295-298).” So what are the attributes of Scripture according to the literature? Polanus and Scharpius argued for “authority, perspicuity, necessity, and perfection”. (p. 300) Rijssen argued for the “authority, perfection, and perspicuity” of the Bible. (p. 300) Burman argued for “necessity, divinity, authority, integrity, perfection, and perspicuity.” (p. 300) Leigh argues for “Divine Authority, True and Certain, The rule of faith and manners (i.e. canonical authority), Necessity, Pure and Holy, Sufficient and Perfect, and Perspicuous and Plan.” (p. 300) Mastricht adds an 8th which is “the effectiveness or efficacy of Scripture.” (p. 300) Muller writes with regard to the differences in the lists, “…with those theologians whose systems contain shorter lists of attributes covering the other dogmatically identified properties of Scripture either as subtopics of one of the other attributes or as part of the general identification of the essence or nature of Scripture as the Word of God.” (p. 300) That is to say that each of these men representing the believing community through their written word treated the certainty of Scripture (i.e. the one they use in study) whether as its own topic or a subtopic. Furthermore Muller concludes that the nature and necessity of Scripture as described here was held throughout the “Middle Ages into the Reformation and could therefore be taken as a common ground in the argument with the Roman church.” (p. 300)

    In short Brother Larry, I am concerned that you were unaware of these names in this brief rehearsal of the history of the believing community on the certainty and authority of Scripture, and as such you wrongly imply a dubious invention of certainty on my part. The latter two mention such certainty outright and the others cover it under the general treatment of the essence of God’s word as noted in the underlined section. These are not the only one’s there are more.

    The more and more these questions are asked the less and less I think the MSTC crowd has an idea of the historicity and substance of the Standard Sacred Text position and still you call me an opponent when you don’t even know what you are fighting.

    Quote:
    “Your quote proved nothing other than that these scholars are unwilling to dogmatically declare that they are right beyond possibility of error.”

    Brother Larry, there is a bit of philosophical logic that I hope can be made clear here because your statement above is extremely problematic when that logic is enforced. Here it is…

    If a thing is not necessarily true then it is possibly false.

    Translation…

    If Scripture is not necessarily true then it is possibly false. Faith cannot have as its object something that is NOT necessarily true. Your Bible as stated above includes errors and is therefore possibly false, ergo it cannot be the object of faith because your Bible is not necessarily true.

    This is elementary philosophical logic coupled with the necessary nature of Christian faith. This is not a King James thing, this is a right thinking thing. To conclude that a thing that is possibly false can be the object of faith is to be willfully unreasonable, and to willfully distort the necessary nature of faith. This is a pristine example of man worshiping his own will in abandoning a proper understanding of the nature of God’s gift of faith, and the nature of God’s world with regard to necessity and potentiality.

    Sure these other Greek texts may contain passages from God’s words but so does the Book of Mormon; some 20+ chapters of Isaiah are said to be contained in the Book of Mormon. Does that make the Book of Mormon, God’s word? No, you will say. Why not? You might say, Because the Book of Mormon says alot of things that the Bible does not. I agree, but now we are just talking about word count: # of God’s words vs. # of man’s words. What if an entire version of the Bible was codified except one chapter which was directly out of the Book of Mormon (i.e. man‘s words)? Would that be a suitable version in this day and age? You and I both know that there is more than one chapter’s worth of “errors” in your version, but you read that version nonetheless. How many of man’s words are allowed into a necessarily true text before the text is no longer necessarily true?

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    Brother JayC you wrote

    Quote:
    You do not explain the development of the texts or translations preceding the KJB at all, and that leaves a gap of nearly 1200-1400 years in your argument that needs to be addressed.

    A cursory let alone a full examination of medieval canonization of the text through the believing community up until the point of the Reformation would be an enormous task, a book-sized task. For your own study I would recommend that you get your hands on Dr. Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics - Vol. 2 Holy Scripture . Its 500 pages. I had to read it for class. If you get through that and your specific question here is not answered, then by all means press the question with me. If you would like more of a place to begin then please refer to my response to Brother Larry, where I posted a series of quotes from Muller about Leigh and company.

    Still a short word with regard to canonization. Before the canon was assembled into one volume, the individual books were self-attesting through the leading of the Spirit in God’s people. The one things that you will never find throughout this history is God’s people declaring the presence of errors in their Holy Scripture as Brother Larry so readily professes above. Why? Because they had complete faith that the Book in their hand was through-and-through the word of God. Lord willing, over time we will get to the issue of canonization (e.g. Jehovah = Canon and the word of God = canon coupled with Kuyper‘s examination of the Incarnational Analogy). It is largely the same key features in play. The books of the Bible could not be solely chosen on the basis of apostolicity, because neither Luke or John Mark were apostles. They could not be chosen on the basis of Church tradition because the believing community is to be in submission to the books of the Bible. They were not chosen on the basis of the presence of God’s name or else a literally rendered Esther and Song of Songs would never had made it in. Ultimately the books of the Bible were brought into the canon because they were autopistos and as such were authentical being self-attesting and recognized as such by the believing community through the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is standard by the numbers Canonicity stuff. I apologize if it is too elementary.

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Roland, you just keep piling on assertions. I point out what you have failed to prove and you declare it ridiculous and the like.
    But repeated declarations don't persuade anyone.

    Here's a random bunch of claims...

    Roland wrote:
    Oh, yes, they are similar if you make reason the court of final appeal as does Modernism. And to say that you are not “ influenced by one in any way that matters in this debate” is a ridiculous statement. Yes, you are heavily influenced by your colleagues, your teachers, your schooling, and the society where you grew up. It's sheer nonsense to suggest that you're an independent thinker who are arrived at his beliefs on his own. As I previously noted, our beliefs are more social constructs than established by reason. Furthermore, I have given you ample opportunity to identify a paradigm within which you generally function. All you gave back were a jumble of unconnected generalities.

    I would love to see you support a single one of these claims with some kind of argument or evidence.

    As for the unconnected generalities, tell me what is unclear and I'll explain further.
    Yes... repeating myself: I have everything to gain from making my position clear and nothing to gain from obscuring it.

    And from the department of heresy...

    Roland wrote:
    1. When God inspired the Scriptures, He obviously allowed the styles, vocabularies, etc. of the human writers to come through.
    2. Do you know that Paul wrote his epistles without changing a word? How do you know?
    3. If Paul changed a word, which word was the inspired one?
    4. Can God maintain inspiration with variants existing?
    5. When God put the words together in context, He did give and limit "semantic content" of the words.

    To number 1: This is not in dispute.
    To number 2: Yes. I know that. Anybody who doesn't know that, doesn't believe in verbal inspiration. The doctrine of verbal inspiration is that the writers of Scripture wrote the very words God inspired and no others. (And you're accusing me of "modernist paradigm"?)

    To number 3: see #2.

    To number 4: inspiration is not "maintained." This is simply not the meaning of the term. Inspiration occurs when--and only when--the Spirit moves so that a chosen individual writes God's words. Thereafter, any act of God in reference to the words is something other than inspiration.

    To number 5: I don't know what this means. If you mean, "did the words mean something in particular at the time they were inspired," absolutely--they had a particular meaning and no other. And no, what they meant has not changed.

    Roland wrote:
    Aaron, tell me plainly if you believe the semantic content of a word is static. Or, does the semantic content vary from place to place and time to time? If so, how do you know the semantic content of words over thousands of years without God's preservation?

    It's not clear what you mean here. But I'll make some assumptions and go with that.

    Everybody knows the meanings of words shift over time. Since I believe in being clear and know that clear is always more persuasive than unclear, let's make this concrete.

    Suppose I write a letter and, in it, I say "A cat just crossed the road."

    • The "semantic content" (which I'm assuming here means something like "meaning") of "cat" is a small domesticated carnivore of the species Felis domestica.
    • The meaning of "road" is a long, narrow stretch with a smoothed or paved surface.

    Now suppose a thousand years pass and somebody in a far away land reads my letter. By this time English has changed so much that

    • "road" only has a metaphorical meaning, something like "a choice among means to an end."
    • And "cat" now means "A classification. Short for 'category.'"


    So what does my letter mean?

    • A category crossed a choice among means to an end?
    • A small domesicated carnivore crossed a long, narrow stretch with a smoothed surface?

    Regardless of the changes in the meaning of "cat" and "road," my letter means what it always meant.
    Here is where the old saying is true. As much as I think scholarship has been and continues to be helpful, "Some things are so obvious, only a scholar can deny them." The obvious thing in this case is that the meaning of my letter does not change and that I could not possibly have "meant" something a thousand years in the future.

    However, if a thousand years after my letter, the word for the feline critter is "wretch" and the word for these long skinny paved surfaces is "causeway," then, in a thousand years, the unchanged meaning is expressed in new language: "A wretch crossed the causeway."

    So....

    Roland wrote:
    How do you know the semantic content of words over thousands of years without God's preservation?

    Preservation doesn't really have anything to do with figuring out what words meant when they were written.

    That was fun, but can we get back on the subject now?
    This doesn't get you closer to supporting any of your claims about the superiority of the traditional text.

    (FWIW, I really don't hate cats... I just enjoy teasing cat lovers)

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    RPittman's picture

    Jay C. wrote:
    I'm in a rush here, but I absolutely fail to see how Aaron or anyone else can be credibly accused of modernist thought. Wikipedia defines it thus:
    Quote:
    Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    Whereas primary considerations were doctrinal, Fundamentalism was a reaction to these social/cultural changes although many, if not most, have become acceptable within Fundamentalist circles within the past two decades. I am specifically speaking of matters of dress, mixed swimming, movie-going, and drinking beverage alcohol, which is now beginning to seep into certain segments. However, many Fundamentalists failed to see the danger in the Lower Criticism and accepted the changed thinking about Biblical texts.
    Quote:

    Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism. Arguably the most paradigmatic motive of modernism is the rejection of tradition and its reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms.
    Now that you mention it, this is an interesting characteristic of Modernism because this describes precisely what happened to the Biblical text. It was rejection of the traditional Received Text concept for a new eclectic text that is revised, rewritten, and recapitulated in a new form. So, I do suppose it could be argued from this statement that anyone accepting modern eclectic texts has to some extent subscribed to Modernism. What do you think?
    Quote:

    Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking and also rejected the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator God in favor of the abstract, unconventional, largely uncertain ethic brought on by modernity, initiated around the turn of century by rapidly changing technology and further catalyzed by the horrific consequences of World War I on the cultural psyche of artists.
    [/quote]Modernism has many definitions according to one's POV. In art, in religion, in sociology, etc., Modernism has different meanings. Also, Modernism has changed over the past two centuries, so you have variation with time. And you will note that it is not our working definition from previous posts. This definition is a gloss. So, what have you proven?

    Even so, there's great diversity in Modernism. I don't think you will find a quote where I called Aaron a Modernist per se. That's not my point. My point has consistently been that Aaron is using methodology out of Modernist epistemology. I don't think he is a Modernist, which may preclude a belief in the existence of God, but he is using their epistemology in making his arguments. There's a big difference here! Have you no ability to discern between the two? If so, why are you confusing the issue?

    Finally, I am having difficulty keeping the water clear when people, who evidently don't understand the distinctions, keep muddying the waters. I've roughly divided the history of thought into three categories: Pre-Modern, Modern (Modernism), and Post-Modern. D. A. Carson and other scholars agree with these designations--in fact, I think Dr. Bauder does. Now, where does Aaron fit in these categories? You tell me.

    If you remember, my whole argument with Aaron over this particular point began when several years ago I declared that I rejected Modernity (loosely defined as Modernism meaning rationality is the only sure means of knowing). Aaron was adamant that I couldn't do this. Since Aaron denied that I could not shuck off Modernity, I have held his feet to the fire whenever he uses Modernistic methodology in his posts. If he denies me the ability to escape from Modernism, then I claim that he is stuck there as well. His persistent denial is a logical contradiction, I believe, if he will not allow that I have rejected Modernism. And to parody Ben Franklin, all your fine words and generalized definitions won't make this contradiction logical.

    I hope you can see more clearly now. Perhaps you should open your eyes . . . . .

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    @Jay, in Roland's lexicon "modernist" means clear and well reasoned.

    @Roland Where's this alleged "methodology,"? Show me where it is. Support your claim.

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    And from the department of heresy...

    Roland wrote:
    When God inspired the Scriptures, He obviously allowed the styles, vocabularies, etc. of the human writers to come through.
    Do you know that Paul wrote his epistles without changing a word? How do you know?
    If Paul changed a word, which word was the inspired one?
    Can God maintain inspiration with variants existing?
    When God put the words together in context, He did give and limit "semantic content" of the words.


    Aaron Blumer, this is a DESPICABLE AND DISHONORABLE ACT! YOU ARE ACCUSING ME OF HERESY! In effect, you are calling me a heretic. There's not one bit of heresy in any of these questions and I'm no heretic.

    You have hit below the belt with an insinuation of heresy . I will NOT engage in an ad hominem attack on you.

    These are questions designed to demonstrate that you cannot rationally prove every question or detail about Scripture and inspiration. And there's nothing heretical here. In fact, you will find something very similar to my first statement in Warfield. You cannot show any of these items in the context of debate to be heretical. They are questions, for the most part, not propositions!

    There is no love, no kindness, no respect, no Christian charity and no compassion in what you've done to me. Aaron, I've personally lost respect for you as a pastor, a person, and a professing Christian. You are no longer a worthy opponent in debate. I quit . . . . .

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Roland, you openly questioned whether the apostle Paul actually wrote what God inspired. That would be heresy. Given http://sharperiron.org/comment/36580#comment-36580 ]your observations earlier in the thread , it's evident you're confused on the subject.
    Which is why I put it somewhat facetiously... "Department of heresy." Everybody knows there is no such department.

    But hey, you've been calling me a modernist for years. I've never considered it hateful. It's really not the end of the world.

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    Alex Guggenheim's picture

    To suggest R. Pittman is practicing heresy and then attempt to play it off because "Everybody knows there is no such department" is possibly more despicable than the accusation itself.

    One does not, in the context of serious doctrinal debate, then introduce the suggestion, even allegedly via facetiousness, the charge of heresy. It is underhanded, at best, then to suggest it was just facetious.

    Obviously no such department of heresy exists, so if it is not true why did you introduce it (it served no real good to the integrity of personal respect)? And the accusation remains. Since all you addressed is the "department" and not the suggestion of heresy itself does this charge remain because heresy is something that is real while the department is not?

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Quote:
    allegedly via facetiousness,

    Alex, if we're going to play the "Alex knows better than Aaron what Aaron means by his own words" game count me out.
    There's no arguing with professing mind readers.

    ...hey, did you just accuse me of lying? I suppose I should lapse into an all-caps fit and quit. Somehow I can't attach that much importance to it, though.

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    Charlie's picture

    A few interjections:

    1.None of us has a purely premodern epistemology. Even those of us who dissent from the major modern epistemologies construct our own in reaction to and in relation to modernity and the questions modernity raises. We cannot pretend we think about the world the same way Jesus or Paul or Augustine or Aquinas or Luther did. Also, since there are so many modern epistemologies, there is really no point calling someone a modernist if you can't specify further what kind. Besides, some of us may be postmodernists (the horror!).

    2. Even if modern textual criticism has a shaky epistemological basis, that doesn't mean it's wrong in their conclusions. Most of our modern advances (trains, electricity, the airplane) were developed under Newtonian physics; if Einstein was right, Newton was way off. Nevertheless, they still work; we just understand why or how they work differently. So, errors in modern textual criticism still need to be treated concretely rather than abstractly. Given X passage, how does a modern epistemological stance lead to adopting a wrong reading rather than a correct one?

    3. How different is modern textual criticism from premodern? We should be able to answer that question easily enough by consulting the instructions for text criticism laid out by people such as Augustine, Jerome, Origen, Erasmus, and Calvin. Here's a start: http://www.bible-researcher.com/notnew.html

    My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

    Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

    Greg Long's picture

    Wow...as my 12-year-old might say, some people here just need to chillax.

    -------
    Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

    Pastor of Adult Ministries
    Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

    Adjunct Instructor
    School of Divinity
    Liberty University

    Jay's picture

    Everyone needs to take a deep breath and "chillax" as Greg said.

    Roland, your position seems to be bordering on the unorthodox, so it is legitimate for it to be questioned and dissected by Aaron and others on this thread. That's the whole purpose of a discussion board, especially one that is dedicated to discussing the fundamentals of Christianity. You have made several problematic statements that would seem to indicate that your Bibliology is not orthodox, and repeated attempts to get you to clarify have proven unsuccessful, which is why Aaron and I continue to press the issue...because we want to make sure that you're not one.

    In the first post that I'm thinking of as problematic, you said:

    Quote:
    If the Holy Spirit legitimately persuades you that the Gospel is true, then why can't the Holy Spirit persuade me that the KJV is the inspired Word of God? If seems we are both proposing the same process.

    I'd like to know what do you mean when you argue that the KJV is the "inspired word of God". Do you mean that the KJB is without error or flaw and therefore is the final authority for all matters? Or do you use it in the more common way, in that each translation that we hold can be referred to as inerrant? The former position is what Peter Ruckman believes, and he's rightfully called a heretic for holding to a position that all orthodox Christians reject.

    The second post that is questionable is this one:

    Quote:
    1. When God inspired the Scriptures, He obviously allowed the styles, vocabularies, etc. of the human writers to come through.
    2. Do you know that Paul wrote his epistles without changing a word? How do you know?
    3. If Paul changed a word, which word was the inspired one?
    4. Can God maintain inspiration with variants existing?

    5. When God put the words together in context, He did give and limit "semantic content" of the words.

    You seem to be fine for most of this until we hit the question about which word Paul writes is inspired and the question about whether or not inspiration is dependent upon the elimination of all textual variants. For the first, only the original manuscript - the copy of Paul's written instruction that was written under Divine Empowerment - is the inspired copy. That means that if Paul wrote a second copy of the original but misspelled a greek word, then the second copy (not written under Divine Empowerment) would not be inerrant. As for question 4, the traditional position of the universal church is that Inspiration only occurs at the time of the original writing. Your question, if I understand it correctly, is a matter of preservation, and as Charlie's linked quotes show, the church has always maintained that the Scriptures can be divinely preserved even though there are variants, even though we may not have 100% certainty that we have exactly what Paul or whomever wrote. That's part and parcel of why textual criticism exists in the first place, and we have far, far more extant copies of the manuscripts for the Bible than we do of some other works, like Beowulf or Plato's Republic.

    You've got a couple ways to go here, Roland. I think what we'd all like to see you do is come out and clearly and succinctly explain why your position is not heretical and thereby silence the 'heresy' statement. You could also state that our positions are wrong and provide some kind of rebuttal, pointing out what and where Aaron and I go wrong, which I would welcome. Or you could just quit, like you said you did in post #105, and leave us all in the dark as to what you mean. I'd really like to see you respond and clarify, because 'heresy' is an ugly term that any Christian should want to fight against, and I'm fairly sure that you aren't a heretic. I know that some of the discussions on this site have kept me from heretical thinking, and I'm glad that people jumped on me when they found that out so I could find and fix the problems in my theology.

    @Charlie, thank you for the link. I've been wanting to find out more about the early church's position on Bibliology and preservation, and that was a good jumping off place.

    @PVK - I have more questions about your underlying presuppositions, but I'll have to save them for tomorrow. Thanks for weighing in again.

    "Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Saying that certain ideas came from the department of heresy is not the same as calling somebody a heretic. In my book, to be a heretic you'd have to take the ideas and pretty aggressively start building a following (if I remember right, the word derives from the idea of being divisive/schismatic).

    But just as saying simply saying something untrue doesn't make one a "liar," (because you might not even know it's untrue) saying something heretical doesn't make you a heretic.

    That said, we shouldn't take it lightly when zeal to defend a view of preservation/translation leads to tampering with the doctrine of inspiration.
    And believers should emphatically reject the idea that

    • God inspired concepts rather than words
    • The particular words are not important
    • God "maintains inspiration" by safeguarding the concepts into new translations

    It's hard to see how this helps a KJV only position, in any case, but it is unmistakeably heterodox (is that a better word?)

    I hasten to add that I'm fairly certain this is not Peter's view, though I'm about equally certain it is Roland's.

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    DavidO's picture

    Aaron,

    How do we know that inspiration worked in such a way that there was no revision during composition as long as that revision ended in the very words God intended?

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Most expressions of the doctrine use language along the lines of "inspired and without error in the originals." So, given how "natural" the human part of the experience of inspiration clearly was (the vocab, thought process, etc.), I don't think we have to rule out revisions before an official final copy was dispatched to its destination. (But this is not what Roland was talking about.)
    The work of textual criticism has nothing at all to do with selecting among revisions but rather of attempting to get to the original words.

    I don't think its possible to believe in verbal inspiration and hold that later revisions by other people could be "inspired." It's doubtful that there is even a way to hold that later revisions (after an official document went out) by the author could be inspired--unless we suggest that the first version was in error. Either way, there would be error in one or the other--which doesn't fit Roland's idea that somehow differences in MSS could exist without errors.

    Here's one of the places he argues along those lines:
    http://sharperiron.org/comment/36522#comment-36522

    Roland wrote:
    This is why I asked Aaron and others to define what an error was. Is it just using a different word from the original or is it using a word that alters, however slightly, the meaning or semantical content of the Scripture?
    There are other related factors here such as the original autograph theory, which I do not believe.

    It's not completely clear what he means by "original autograph theory," but the post gives every indication that he rejects the idea that the Spirit only inspired certain words (the original ones) and that all differences are errors.

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    I patiently wait for substantive interactions with posts 97-101, but in the mean time, Brother DavidO thank you for joining the discussion.

    The reason why we cannot know there were discrepancies in the process of inspiration is in short two part: 1.) the Bible does not give us any indication of such a thing 2.) The best-possible-world system within theology rejects the possibility given the nature of inspiration.

    To elaborate on the second point, a question was asked, When God made the world did He create the best possible world? The answer is, yes, because God is ultimate and pure actuality (i.e. no passive potency) and as such can only produce the most pure, most perfect, most exact, most complete etc. thing(s) which includes words. If you want to discuss how we get there I would be happy to carry that discussion to the theology portion of these forums.

    Back on point, if you believe that God breathed certain words (which I do and is the historical understanding of inspiration) then He breathed the best word(s). When God breathed the words of Scripture He breathed the best possible words the first time and as such even if there were a second time when inspired words came to Paul due to some human flaw during the first delivery (which I reject) the same word as was given by inspiration the first time was given the second time.

    With regard to this "department of heresy" thing, such language is suitable for an ancient comedy. (Wherever you see "The side" read Brother Blumer and company) The side that like a dripping faucet bombarded Brother Pittman with "What do you mean by that?" and "Could you please clarify that?" for some reason abandoned their quest for clarity and judged immediately. The side whose system of textual development is no more than 100-150 years old cries "department of heresy" as if the system for textual development had started around the age my Great Grandfather was born. The side who readily admits there are errors in their Bible, the standard for determining what falls into the "department of heresy", somehow finds the intestinal fortitude to claim a thing as being in the "department of heresy". The side which is theologically and historically bankrupt with regard to the terms, systems, and beliefs of the believing community throughout historic orthodoxy has the nerve to claim orthodoxy and call another's view into the "department of heresy". The side which has not given the common courtesy of knowing their opponents view but rather asks to be spoon fed these views, considers themselves theologically mature enough to declare a thing as belonging to the "department of heresy". The side whose vacuous assertions reek of scholarly slop that men like D.O. Fuller, Letis and my Dad put to rest before I was born, believes itself so scholarly that it can decide what belongs in the "department of heresy". Truly comedic. Truly tragic.

    In all the places where I have discussed theology - seminary classrooms to city sidewalks - SI is the #1 place where "heretic" and "heresy" are most readily alleged. In the present case, guys who wouldn't know historic orthodoxy if it was kicking them in the teeth, declare "Department of Heresy". You know how you can tell "that side" wouldn't know, because historic orthodoxy has been kicking them in the teeth through the course of this discussion and they still don't know it.

    Blessings

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    DavidO's picture

    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    It's doubtful that there is even a way to hold that later revisions (after an official document went out) by the author could be inspired--unless we suggest that the first version was in error.

    Compare Psalm 14 with Psalm 53. I suggest one is a revision of the other. I have no problem accepting both as inspired and without error.

    DavidO's picture

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    ... even if there were a second time when inspired words came to Paul due to some human flaw during the first delivery (which I reject) the same word as was given by inspiration the first time was given the second time.

    I don't disagree with you in general, except I don't think all revision must be due to human flaw. See my post immediately above.

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    DavidO wrote:
    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    It's doubtful that there is even a way to hold that later revisions (after an official document went out) by the author could be inspired--unless we suggest that the first version was in error.

    Compare Psalm 14 with Psalm 53. I suggest one is a revision of the other. I have no problem accepting both as inspired and without error.

    It's not clear to me what this has to do with a discussion about textual criticism. But it may help to point out some doctrine of inspiration essentials:

    • Inspiration is a process whereby God brings a message from Himself to human beings in written form.
    • Verbal inspiration means that message consists of exactly the words He intended to convey.
    • The process/act of inspiration is complete when the message reaches written form in the words God inspired.
    • When that process is completed, the uninspired process of making copies begins.
    • So when a message from God reaches the written form He intended, any revisions that occur after that introduce error.

    This is all basic verbal inspiration doctrine.

    Implications for Psalm 14 & 53:
    If indeed one is a revision of the other, believers in verbal inspiration have to take the position that God inspired two written messages which are related and very similar--using one as the starting point for the other. (This is not out of the question since, presumably, some time would pass between the two and a later audience might benefit from a freshly inspired rewording. But I hasten to add that I am not prepared to say right now that this actually happened. Haven't had the chance to study these Psalms and their relation to eachother. It's quite possible that there are better explanations that don't require introducing tenuous complexities to the doctrine of inspiration. I would be strongly biased in favor of these other explanations.)

    (So to clarify what I meant in my quoted statement by "later revisions," I mean revisions by copyists, etc., after the inspired document has reached completed form.)

    Implications for textual criticism:
    None.

    I'm not really sure why we're talking about inspiration at all. It has no bearing on what happens when people start making copies of what God inspired. Unless the goal is to teach some kind of ongoing inspiration, it's irrelevant. And the idea of ongoing inspiration in ever changing copies (or across languages) is fundamentally incompatible with the orthodox understanding of inspiration.

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

    DavidO's picture

    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    It's not clear to me what this has to do with a discussion about textual criticism.

    No, it's a total rabbit trail, but you piqued my interest with your revision statement.

    Sorry to derail.

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Doubt I'll get as far as 101 today. But some thoughts on 97...

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    One thing that seems to allude the MSTC position is this, you refuse to recognize that the Bible in your hand reveals the essence and attributes of its very self. Thus for you “one jot and one tittle” refers to the autographs. Same with “every word of God is pure” and “heaven and earth shall pass away”. This is a fundamental change between pre-Enlightenment Bibliology and MSTC.

    We have only your claim. The idea that when Jesus referred to "jot and tittle" He was talking about a translation that would not exist for well over a millennium--and that people believed this until the Enlightenement--needs support.

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    1.) Abraham, being in Heaven, being free from sin, says that the rich man’s five brothers have Moses and the prophets. They most certainly do not have the actual text written at the hand of Moses and the prophets so what is Abraham post-sin referring to? Copies of course. ....

    Not in dispute: that copies of the Scriptures are authoritative and are the Word of God.

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    [John 18:37 ]: “Everyone that is of the truth” is in reference to saints, God’s people. The text is clear, all saints hear His voice, that is Jesus Christ’s voice. Where did the saints in Jesus time hear the voice of Christ? From Christ himself seems to be the clearest option at this point. Then Christ ascends (Luke 24:49-53) Who came in Christ’s stead? The Holy Spirit. ....

    Not in dispute.

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    [Acts 1:1-9 ] Two things are going to happen here: 1.) The Holy Ghost is going to come upon them 2.) They are going to witness after the Holy Ghost comes upon them. What are they going to witness with? With the Apostle’s Doctrine which at this point is the Old Testament (e.g. Paul, Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch) coupled with their own testimonies as plenty potentiaries (i.e. full legal representatives) of Jesus Christ. This apostolic doctrine was then committed to writing in the case of the 27 book canon called the New Testament. Please note at this point the inextricable connection between the Holy Ghost and the Apostle’s Doctrine (i.e. Holy Scripture).

    The "connection" here is stated in the text. It isn't just any connection. It's "you shall receive power." What power? John 16:8-11.

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    Ephesians 5:19, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”...

    Not in dispute.
    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    [Romans 6:16 ] You are either obeying sin which is disobedience to God or you are obeying God unto righteousness. How do we obey God? By obeying the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit directly connected to? Holy Scripture. ...

    Nothing in dispute in this section either.

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    Now turn to Romans 8:1-4 and our focus will be on the phraseology of “who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Commentary...

    Nothing in dispute here either.

    From post #98

    Peter wrote:
    ... what is this God’s Spirit > God’s word > God’s people paradigm all about. It is in brief relief in the verses above. I could bring in a myriad of pre-Enlightenment scholarly commentary to show these truths to be evident throughout history but don’t you agree that Holy Scripture should be enough? God’s words and God’s Spirit are always present where the other is present, and they are present in God’s people alone. No other people group enjoys such presence. God’s words are God’s words because God has said them and declared them to be both in His words and through His Spirit.

    First, "Holy Scripture should be enough?" Enough for what? They are enough for what they claim to be enough for. They do not claim to be enough to tell us which man-made copies of themselves are correct and which are in error.
    The rest... this is not what's in dispute here.

    Peter wrote:
    What about the few saints that stray and serve their own lusts? What is their roll in the God’s Spirit>God’s word>God’s people paradigm? Ultimately they have no roll. At that time in their life they have rejected God’s spirit and God’s words and have thrown off God’s people and are living according to their own lusts in the flesh.

    Ah, here's where we're getting to the equivocation. Earlier, "the believing community" was "all of the blood bought." Now it's just those who have not "rejected God's spirit and God's words"... which, I'll wager, includes "anyone who does not accept the traditional text."
    So here's where the circularity of this view emerges again.

    • The correct text = what has been approved by the believing community
    • The believing community = the one that has approved the correct text

    The conclusion is assumed (the correct text is the traditional text) because there is no actual support for it in this argument.

    Peter wrote:
    What about the few saints that disagree with the believing community? Here is the litmus test, are they submitting to God’s word and Spirit in their particular disagreement? How do you know? The answer is in what the Bible says. A saint may say, “Some of the words in Deuteronomy are missing.” this is an error because it is not substantiated by Holy Scripture yeah rather it is condemned. God’s word reads not one jot or one tittle.

    You are assuming the conclusion in the argument again. What's in dispute here, in part, is what "one jot or one tittle" means. Where does the Bible teach that this refers to particular copies or translations? (I'm not familiar with any particular claims about Deuteronomy, however.)
    Doesn't the OT say God's word is "Settled forever in Heaven"? Why does Jesus statement have to mean "not one jot or tittle will be missing on the earth in a text that everyone knows is the correct text"? That's all between the lines at best.

    Peter wrote:
    In sum, the Bible in your hand or on your desk talks about itself not about some heavenly or hypothetical text.

    A false dichotomy underlies this statement. Why can the Bible in my hand not refer to both itself and a hypothetical text? More precisely, why can it not refer to what the context requires (the Greek and Hebrew the Spirit inspired) and also refer to the copies and translations God has providentially preserved, to the extent they are in agreement with the originals?

    Peter wrote:
    With regard to our present topic, those who defend MSTC here on SI reject the God’s Spirit>God’s word> God’s people paradigm, thus the historic Standard Sacred Text position has no choice but to conclude that MSTC is driven by men’s lusts out of fleshly living and that is will-worship.

    See the circularity comment above.
    If you want to argue in a circle, you're welcome to do that. We all do it eventually with our ultimate/first principles (I believe the Bible is God's word because it says it is), but if you want to persuade anyone who is not a traditional text defender, you'll need to support your position with something stronger than: "The traditional text is correct because it has been approved by those who believe the traditional text is correct."
    (...or "The traditional text is the one preserved through the Spirit because those who have the Spirit are the ones who preserve the traditional text.")

    Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

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